Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Controlling the 'No'

No. Just that simple. A two-letter word. A powerful two-letter word. No.

This struggle to control the two-letter word definitely comes into play when a child hits two and actually can say the word. The child is as little and mighty as the little word. Too bad there isn't another two-letter word that could take it's place.

Possible alternatives:  So, do, go, to, be, me, ma, my, etc...... Why no? I'm sitting here trying to roll the alternatives off the tongue. I must admit that I like saying 'no' the best. That little pucker of the lips, the hard hit off the hard palate, the finality of closing the lips at the end of the word. I rather like the feel of the word. But.....controlling the 'no' is much different than the saying of it. Plus I look really stupid sitting here saying the word over and over.

As a young mother, I remember my first struggle with parental patience. Here was a child who was alive all of about 24 months who was controlling a woman in her late twenties. I had used the word many times in my growing up years and was really good at saying it. Being on the other side of the 'no' was not so easy.

My experience of the 'no' is well-honed. I know the repercussions of a misplaced 'no'. The sense of defeat. The thrill of a successful 'no'. Yes, my years of experience had taught me to use the word skillfully. Yet when a grandchild looks at me and says 'no', my confusion alarm goes off. I immediately start through that file in my brain looking for a resolution. I know that a 'no' met with a 'no' gets us nowhere. From experience, I know that a retorted 'no' said louder has an effect of the resounding 'no' getting angrier. Ach! The battle of the 'nos'.

I have learned a few things. Probably the most important is to keep my mouth shut and to think before I answer the 'no'. The face-off of wills gets us nowhere, and there are no lessons learned. There is no communication taking place. I have even learned that sometimes the 'no' is right. My retort would be from my point of view. Maybe I need to step back and look at the 'no' from the source.

Perhaps this blog is meaningless today. But this word and I have had a long journey together. In dealing with my granddaughters and the 'no', I find that I can open doors of understanding. We can have conversation instead of arguments. We can both learn co-operation. Maybe I can even help to make their lives a little easier.

Controlling the 'no'. Understanding the 'noer'.

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